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Summary: Just as paul and the early church faced persecution, so do we today. How shall we deal with it?

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How to Deal with Persecution

Acts 18:1-17

Pastor Mark Olson

7/22/07

Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus

will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 3:12

Promise: You will face rejection and suffering because of your Christian faith.

What is Persecution? Hebrews 10:32-34

Persecution can be...

Verbal

Physical

Economic

Social

Political

Persecution = To suffer ill treatment because you are a Christian.

How Paul Dealt with Persecution

1. He focused on those who were receptive vv 6-8

Shook out his clothes = symbolic demonstration that he was no longer responsible for those who rejected the gospel (Acts 13:51)

2. He cried out to God v 9

Paul prayed… sought God… waited on God… heard from God

Paul faced fear and discouragement...needed to be encouraged

3. Paul was certain of his calling

Paul understood he was called to proclaim Christ...no matter what!

Paul committed his life to God’s keeping

Lessons: 1. Know when to call it quits & move on

2. Lord is an ever constant source of strength & hope

3. We are called to proclaim Christ – so let your light shine!

How We Should Deal with Persecution

Luke 6:27-28 Overcome the persecution spirit

Love your persecutor:

Do good...not hate

Bless...not curse

Pray for...not mistreat

Do to them as your want ot be done to you v 30

Lesson: Do not allow yourself to be sucked into a dog-eat-dog focus

1 Peter 3:13-16 Commit Yourself Totally to Christ

You are already blessed v 14

Do not fear what people can do to you v 14

Set Christ apart in your hearts v 15

Commit your life totally to God’s care & perfect will

Focus on pleasing Christ, not people

Give an answer for your hope in Christ vv 15-16

Do so with respect...keeping conscience clear

1 Peter 4:12-19 Your Suffering is a Participation in the Sufferings of Christ

You are not being picked on by God v 12

You will be rewarded when Christ returns v 13

Attitude is the key to victory vv 15-16

Persecution demonstrates your faith is genuine v 17

Commit yourself to God & good works v 19

Closing

Church historian Bruce Shelley:

“The main cause of the hatred of early Christians in Roman society lies in their distinctive lifestyle. ‘We have the reputation,’ says Tertullian, of living aloof from the crowds.” (Church History, 53)

Early Christians stood out because of their godly lifestyle - result: they were persecuted for being different.

May we follow in their footsteps and be different in our culture.


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